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2013 Winners

Senior Thesis Division


Sarah Boone (International Studies)
Faculty Advisor: Sara Curran, Jackson School of International Studies and Public Affairs

Substance and Symbol: The Ethics of Water Use and Development in Oman

This thesis explores the varying ethical perceptions of water use in Oman. For many populations living in the hyper-arid Arabian Peninsula, cultural and religious values require that people strictly limit their water use. Today after one generation of intense urbanization, Omanis still maintain these values of conservation, however they have also come to glorify water-intensive, urban lifestyles. I argue that people do not change their water usage based on actual scarcity or ability to consume, but rather based on the symbolism that their surrounding community attaches to their resource use. In urban and rural Oman competing symbols have been introduced that support two very different water ethics. To reduce cognitive dissonance, Omanis compartmentalize each ethic in relation to different community settings and go through a process of switching their ethical codes when traveling between the countryside and urban centers.

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Hannah Giese (History)
Faculty Advisor: George Behlmer, History

Giants, Dwarfs, and Skeletons on Display: Created Identity and the Commodified Abnormal Body in Georgian and Victorian Britain

The compulsion to collect, view and medicalize curious anatomy was evident in the proliferation of popular anatomy museums, the formation of institutional collections of pathology and the particular of freakshows in the nineteenth-century. For living freak performers and dead pathology specimens the most lucrative and valued examples of abnormal anatomy utilized narrative literature as a marketing tool to maximize their worth as commodified display objects. Both of these exhibitory stages capitalized on the rare, “unique” nature of physical oddity, and the visceral reaction they inspired in viewers. Freakshows and pathology collections each utilized the “personal histories” of human oddities to bolster the commercial worth of collected anatomy on display. Investigation and comparison of this connection, however, has been largely overlooked by historical scholarship. My project addresses a neglected aspect of medical/freak dialogue: how created or portrayed personal “case histories” accelerated the desirability of the commodified abnormal body, living or deceased.

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Ashley Lindsey (History & Political Science)
Faculty Advisor: James N. Gregory, History

Working Together: Waterfront Politics, Peace and Solidarity during the 1948 West Coast Maritime Strike

In 1948, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and a coalition of other maritime unions went on strike, bringing the United States’ West Coast Ports to a standstill for 95 days.  Despite facing increasing criticism for its radicalism in the face of the emerging Cold War, the union was able to win concessions in their new contract and establish an industry peace with a once obstinate employers’ association.  The ILWU’s strong participatory democracy and workplace culture enabled it to maintain solidarity and militancy during a period when American labor was purging its radical elements and facing growing political conservatism.

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Senior Non-Thesis Division


Leo Baunach (International Studies)
Faculty Advisor: James N. Gregory, History 

Organizing Precarious Workers in the CIO Era: The International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America

This paper examines the history of the International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America (IFAWA) in the Puget Sound and Alaska from its roots in the early 1930s until dissolution in 1952. Many fishermen were misclassified by cannery companies as independent entrepreneurs, denying them collective bargaining rights and access to social services. IFAWA made significant progress by challenging the precarious position of workers in the industry, and at its height the Seattle-based union represented more than 25,000 West Coast fishermen and cannery workers. In 1950, it became one of the eleven left-led unions purged from the CIO and subsequently collapsed due to anti-trust lawsuits that criminalized the ability of ‘independent’ fishermen to unionize. The essay is based on a rare set of records housed by the Labor Archives at the University of Washington.

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Rena Kawasaki (IAS: Community Psychology)
Faculty Advisor: Kristin Gustafson, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell

How Language Use Indicates Acculturation and Enculturation Processes of Native Japanese Americans: Examples from the 1946 Issues of Hokubei Hochi

My research examines literature on immigrant adaptation processes, and how language use in the 1946 Hokubei Hochi, Japanese immigrant newspaper in Seattle, indicates the dialogue of acculturation and enculturation in the Japanese American community and in Japan. I analyzed four issues from the 1946 Hokubei Hochi newspaper because this time frame corresponded with when the Language Reform Policy was implemented in Japan. The policy led to the simplification and reduction of commonly used Kanji characters. This resulted in eliminating the slight nuances of the Japanese language. This paper demonstrates language as an indicator of (1) acculturation or adaptation to the host culture, and/or (2) enculturation or maintaining of ties to their heritage culture. My findings elucidate the tensions between acculturation and enculturation processes. It highlights that adaptation is not a unilinear process but is time and value-laden that requires a holistic perspective to understand.

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Helen Olsen & Samuel Nowak (Geography)
Faculty Advisor: Sarah Elwood, Geography

Why Delridge? Narratives of Neighborhood Fragility and Economic Liability in Seattle

This paper examines the contradictions of neighborhood level visions of development in Delridge, Seattle contradictions — how they work discursively to produce a geographic imaginary of Delridge that molds itself to the ontology and epistemology of urbanism under neoliberalism while still subject to the ‘actually existing neoliberalisms’ across geographic scales of the City of Seattle and Delridge neighborhood. Through primary research rooted in participant observation, archival work and geovisualization, we demonstrate the ways in which neighborhood-level organizations navigate the politics, discourse, and economics of those contradictions offers a critical insight into the ‘actually existing neoliberalisms’ produced in neighborhoods.

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Non-senior Division


Kylie Lanthorn (IAS: Arts, Media and Culture)
Faculty Advisor: Ellen E. Moore, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma

The Subversion of Free Play: A Study of the Impacts of Parental Philosophies and Socioeconomic Factors on Television Usage of Children

An area less studied in examining the relationship between children and television is how parents understand and (potentially) mitigate their children’s exposure to media. This study examines how parental philosophies regarding media use as well as socioeconomic factors impact how much television their children consume. The current research evaluates responses from 100 parents of children (18 and under) through an anonymous, ten question online survey. This research applies Marshall McLuhan’s substantive theory, which holds that it is not the content on the television screen that is important, but rather the act of watching TV itself. The survey found that households with a high income or a single parent are more likely to have children who engage more heavily with media, and that children with parents who do not believe they are capable of entertaining themselves are more likely to be heavy television users.

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Margaret Shaw (Community, Environment and Planning)
Faculty Advisor: Arista-Maria Cirtautas, Jackson School of International Studies

An Unsuccessful EU Policy for Combating Corruption in Romania

In this essay I argue that the European Union’s flawed anti-corruption policy and its lack of understanding of the local elite have failed to eradicate corruption in Romania. First, I give a brief overview of Romania’s deep-seated corruption problems. I then argue that the EU’s lack of any decisive or single-minded blueprint for administrative reform made its anti-corruption measures ineffective. I explain how the EU profoundly underestimated the lengths to which Romania’s corrupt politicians are willing to go to preserve the status quo, and end exploring the efficacy of top-down democratization for instituting meaningful democratic reform.

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Honorable Mentions

Molly Ostheller (Latin and Greek)
Faculty Advisor: Olga Levaniouk, Classics
Senior Thesis: Homeric Truth

Gennie Gebhart (International Studies and Economics)
Faculty Advisor: Deborah Porter, Jackson School of International Studies
Senior Thesis: Cultural Vocabularies of Eating and Mourning in Southern Italy: Reflections in Film of Contemporary Eating Disorders and Historical Traumas

Alexander Catchings (English)
Faculty Advisor: Sonnet Retman, American Ethnic Studies
Senior Non-Thesis Project: Look Who’s Laughing: Black Buddies, Bodies, and Unlaughter in the Neo-Slave Narrative

Hope St. John (Urban Studies)
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Hoffman, Urban Studies, UW Tacoma
Non-Senior Project: Kamagasaki: The Legacy of Poverty and Uprising in Urban Spaces

Jing (Samantha) Xue (Business)
Faculty Advisor: Asher Curtis, Foster School of Business
Non-Senior Project: The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Resulting Regulatory Changes